As we have been covering, church history was predicted by the LORD’s messages to the Seven Churches. Church history is filled with crucial lessons to learn if we are to become the pure, chaste virgin the LORD so deserves as His bride.
In that history we see the consequences of being joined to the powers of this age and allowing intolerance for those who may not conform to everything we believe, or just the way that we believe, to creep into the fabric of church life.
Resisting intolerance does not mean that we do not stand for sound biblical truth without compromise. However, the church has been devastated throughout history by divisions over minor issues. Even when divided over major doctrines, the answer is not to go to war with each other. Rather, we are exhorted in Romans 12:18, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.”
Religious intolerance has proven to be the cruelest form of intolerance and a major reason why so many want nothing to do with God or religion. Even the Roman’s persecutions of the early Christians paled in comparison to what Christians did to other Christians during the Inquisition.
According to Henry C. Sheldon, author of “The History of the Christian Church,” “A Roman magistrate (who was devoted to the destruction of Christianity) would have been ashamed to employ some of the methods freely used by the Inquisition.”
The tortures revealed in such works as Foxe’s Book of Martyrs make the Nazis seem benevolent in comparison, and that’s no exaggeration. We would like to forget this, but such things tend to surface and get used against us if they are not confronted, repented of, and the wounds from these sins healed by forgiveness.
Also, if we cover them up we do not have the opportunity to learn the lessons from them and they keep getting repeated. Every bad thing that happened in church history was allowed to happen for a purpose. That purpose is that we learn these ultimate lessons. That is why this history was written in advance in Revelation.
The rest of the message of the LORD to this church age is poignant and was fulfilled:
“Behold, I will throw her (Jezebel) on a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds.
And I will kill her children with pestilence, and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds,” (Revelation 2:22-23).
During this period, the “black death” swept over Europe and seemed to especially concentrate in the place where the harlot church was dominant. To the rest He gave encouragement:
“But I say to you, the rest who are in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not known the deep things of Satan, as they call them — I place no other burden on you.
Nevertheless what you have, hold fast until I come.
He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations; and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of the potter are broken to pieces, as I also have received authority from My Father; and I will give him the morning star.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches,” (Revelation 2:24-29).
The morning star is the planet Venus that rises as the brightest star during the darkest part of the night as evidence that the day will soon dawn. William Tyndale is often referred to as “the morning star of the Reformation.” He was the first to translate the Scriptures into his native language so that the common people could understand them.
This no doubt led to the Gutenberg Bible being the first book to come off the printing press after its invention. Without this, the flames of the Reformation revival would have likely died like the previous movements to reform the church. In this way, the darkest period of the church ended. It was not quite the day, but the morning star promised that it would be soon.
~ Pastor Rick Joyner